Consult women and children on disaster preparedness --Save the Children

The government has been called on by the child's rights group Save the Children Philippines to include women, children, and other members of vulnerable sectors in their disaster risk reduction preparedness plans.

Save the Children made the call on Tuesday as it observed the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). Its Chief Executive Officer Atty. Alberto Muyot explained that times of emergencies and disasters, such as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, exacerbate the plight of the most deprived and marginalized women and children.

It is the responsibility of the government, he added, to ensure their right to survival, protection from abuse and exploitation, as well as access to critical health care and education.

"Children’s views must be considered in the disaster risk reduction planning. It is the right of every child to speak and to be listened to on matters that affect their lives and their future," said Muyot.

Sadly, the 2019 World Risk Report ranked the Philippines as ninth among the most disaster-prone countries worldwide. An estimated 74 percent of the country’s population, mostly children, is exposed to multiple hazards such as typhoons, storm surges, and rising sea levels.

This is why Save the Children Philippines advocated the enactment of R.A. 10821, otherwise known as the Children's Emergency Relief and Protection Act. This law directed both national and local government agencies to implement and sustain a comprehensive emergency program to protect children, as well as pregnant and lactating mothers, from disasters and emergencies.

At the same time, the law also increases child involvement and participation in the disaster risk reduction planning and post-disaster needs assessment.